Monday, March 14, 2022

Quick Pick Review: A Train to Moscow by Elena Gorokhova

 Title: A Train to Moscow

Author: Elena Gorokhova

Format: Paperback

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing

Publish Date: March 1, 2022

Source: Borrowed

What's the Story?:

From "In post–World War II Russia, a girl must reconcile a tragic past with her hope for the future in this powerful and poignant novel about family secrets, passion and loss, perseverance and ambition.

In a small, provincial town behind the Iron Curtain, Sasha lives in a house full of secrets, one of which is her own dream of becoming an actress. When she leaves for Moscow to audition for drama school, she defies her mother and grandparents and abandons her first love, Andrei.

Before she leaves, Sasha discovers the hidden war journal of her uncle Kolya, an artist still missing in action years after the war has ended. His pages expose the official lies and the forbidden truth of Stalin’s brutality. Kolya’s revelations and his tragic love story guide Sasha through drama school and cement her determination to live a thousand lives onstage. After graduation, she begins acting in Leningrad, where Andrei, now a Communist Party apparatchik, becomes a censor of her work. As a past secret comes to light, Sasha’s ambitions converge with Andrei’s duties, and Sasha must decide if her dreams are truly worth the necessary sacrifice and if, as her grandmother likes to say, all will indeed be well.

My Two Cents:

With everything going on in the world right now, "A Train to Moscow" feels particularly timely. In post World War II Soviet Union, Sasha dreams about becoming an actress even though the road may be difficult and it may put her in an undesirable spotlight. Her family is also worried for her and not fully supportive. In addition to her career aspirations, she also knows that her family is hiding a deep secret about her mysterious uncle.

I feel like I really haven't read a lot of historical fiction set in the time period in the book and I loved getting to know more about what it would have been like to live during that time. The world building in this book was really interesting and I loved all of the great detail that the author fit into this book. You can imagine exactly what Sasha is going through and all of the detail makes for a truly engaging read.


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